As the Crow Flies written by Gail Hartman and illustrated by Harvey Stevenson is a great way to introduce maps to young children.
The book follows the paths of an eagle, a rabbit, a crow, a horse, and a gull. At the end of each animal’s journey a simple map illustrates the places the animal has visited. “AS THE RABBIT HOPS. A path winds around a farmhouse, past a shed, to a garden where the sweet greens grow.” On the facing page the author shows “THE RABBIT’S MAP”, a simply illustrated map with a path from “my house”, to the “farmhouse”, to the “shed”, to the “garden”. At the end of the book the author follows the moon as it shines on each of the animals paths, including the rabbit, “It shines on the garden near the farmhouse in the country.” On the last pages the paths of all the animals come together to form one big map titled “THE BIG MAP”.
This book would work well when introducing students to maps as part of a Geography unit. It is best suited for a kindergarten or 1st grade classroom. The concepts included in the book work with lessons where students will describe the relative location of people, places, and things by using positional words, use simple maps to develop an awareness that a map is a drawing of a place to show where things are located, describe places referenced in stories and real-life situations, and develop an awareness that maps and globes show a view from above, show things in smaller size, and show the position of objects (SOL K.3, K.4a,b and K.5a,b,c).
- The UEN website has four good classroom activities for developing map skills.
- Have students create a story map using a story they have read, or make a map of their school.
- A geography unit plan, Our Place in the World, designed to create awareness of city, state, country, continent, and world.
Author: Gail Hartman
Illustrator: Harvey Stevenson
Publication Date: 1993
Grade Range: K-2